Kayla + Cassie
“Love doesn’t always fit into perfectly checked boxes, and my relationship with Cassie is proof of that. I had never been in a relationship with a woman or even attracted to one until I met Cassie. In fact, in high school I was very much the head-cheerleader-date-the-football-player type of girl. I have always been super feminine, fashion-obsessed, and, boy crazy – so when I fell in love with Cassie, it shocked everyone, including myself.
The first time I met Cassie, I had just moved to Austin. I was working retail in Los Angeles but found myself missing my family in San Antonio, so when an opportunity arose to open up a new store in Austin, I jumped at it. I had just gotten settled in my new surroundings, when I reached out to a friend who lived in Austin and asked her to get together. We agreed to meet for dinner at a Mexican restaurant. Turns out, my friend who I was having dinner with knew Cassie and when they bumped into each other at the restaurant, she introduced us.
“The first time I saw Kayla she was sitting with a friend of mine from college at a Mexican restaurant, and I went up to say hello. My college friend invited me to join their table, and after seeing Kayla, I gladly accepted. Kayla and I ended up talking to each other the rest of the night. She was nervous around me though – mostly because I was super gay and she wasn’t. We had an instant connection but it took 5 weeks of friendship for Kayla to finally admit she had feelings for me. She had never been in a gay relationship before and never in a million years thought she would fall for a woman, so I had to be patient while she came to terms with her feelings.”
Really patient. For the next 6 years, I ended up chasing Kayla pretty much across the country, as she moved around to 4 different cities for work. She refused to move back to Austin because “there wasn’t enough fashion.” Oh if you only knew this woman. After many years in a long distance relationship, I finally convinced Kayla to move back to Texas. We compromised on Dallas, where I started my own apartment locating company.
Even though we finally agreed on a city to live in, the challenges that lied ahead were far from over. Kayla still really struggled with the idea of being in a relationship with a woman.
It took years for me to even feel comfortable saying the word “girlfriend” or to tell people at work about Cassie. Even though I knew I was in love with Cassie from the beginning, I would constantly try to break up with her because ‘I was not gay.’ I also had extreme guilt about disappointing my mother.
When I first came out to my mom, all hell broke loose. She started crying and asking me what she did wrong. “Why? I didn’t raise you this way! Why are you doing this to me?” It was just my mom had no warning. No signs. I didn’t dress or look like a lesbian. I had never talked about being attracted to women before and had always loved boys. How could I be gay? My mothers reaction crippled me. I doubted myself and doubted the love I had for Cassie. It made me feel so lost and alone. I was so in love and so happy, but I wasn’t able to share those moments with the person I was closest to.
For the first 3 years of our relationship, my mom refused to even acknowledge that Cassie existed. They were the most excruciatingly painful years of my life. For example, when my mom would come into town for Christmas, Cassie would have to leave our apartment and I would have to hide her clothes and take down the photos of us from the fridge. I felt so disappointed and ashamed for hurting my mom that I tried to break things off with Cassie multiple times- but it never lasted because I couldn’t deny how I felt. So when I was around my mom, I just went along with pretending that Cassie didn’t exist. My mom would try to set me up on dates with men and even tried to sign me up to go on ‘the Bachelor’ TV show. It took a long time for my mom to come around. A really long time. But after three years of dating, I think she started to realize this wasn’t just a phase.
Things really took a turn when Cassie lost her own mother. She passed away after a long battle with alcoholism that lead to cirrhosis of the liver. Cassie was only 25 at the time.
Cassie and I were at her mother’s funeral in Austin when my mom texted Cassie for the first time ever and also sent her flowers. She felt so sorry for Cassie and felt, “she was too young to lose a mother.”
“I think when my mother passed away, Kayla’s mom started to see me as a human being instead of this evil person who ‘turned’ her daughter gay. Losing my mom was one of the hardest things I’ve ever been through and Kayla’s mom really stepped up and was there for me. Trust me, I never thought the day would come where Kayla’s mom would accept me, but it did and she’s gone on to play a huge role in my life. Now, she loves me as her own, and I can’t put into words what that means to me. I call her when I’m sad, or when I need advice, and she is always there.
When Kayla’s mom gave me her blessing to propose to Kayla, it was one of the best moments of my life. Finally after 6 years of dating, we both are able to say, “I married the girl of my dreams.” Our wedding day was the most amazing day. We had an intimate ceremony in St. Thomas with 65 of our closest friends and family. However it was also hard for me– it’s significant events like those that make me really, really miss my and mom and wish she was there. But I feel so lucky to have a mother-in-law who’s so kind, loving, and supportive. We are closer than ever and it’s funny because now she calls me more than she calls Kayla!”